Monday, September 16, 2013
Toward Freedom XX
The Holy Spirit is also known as the Comforter. I started thinking about this a few weeks back. Why is there so little comfort in my life? The question was more dangerous than expected; the roof fell in and I hunkered down in survival mode.
This wasn't the first time we'd talked about comfort. The subject has come up a few times through the years since 2003, with never a conclusion. Easier to leave that sleeping dog to lie.
And yet, things change. What, really, in practical everyday terms, is faith? I've been a Christian for over 40 years and it wasn't until a week or so ago that I found a kind of handle on the subject. Perhaps faith is a confidence that God is working, leading me toward life, even when I feel no movement and see no change. Faith may be the belief in God's hands shaping, when the shaping is imperceptible.
What kind of change are we talking about? This is where things get strange. There are many advisors, ready to tell me what to do, how to do it, and where to go. Step by step. One extreme is to make all the decisions myself. The other is to let God make them all. The first is limited in perspective and decried in the Christian community. The second is foiled by God's creative silence when the question "What should I do?" comes up between us.
Ever since the 2003 restart I've felt the pressure of God's presence. Don't make a mistake. He's watching, ready to call out the smallest fault. Over the following years the ideas have changed a bit but I still feel the pressure. Very, very far from being comforted.
And yet... God gave me his Son. Will he stint at anything else?
Where does the pressure really come from? To live with God is to have light filling the garden, at least those parts left open long enough. Light brings growth. Growth is change. I expect my life to remain on an even keel because anything else calls to much attention to me, but change pretty much means venturing into unknown areas. There's no even keel out there, as we bump into things. How do I think about myself? I"m not who I've thought I was.
This is very bad. It's also very good. If nothing changes I will forever be stuck within the self-description circumscribed limit. God's light shines into a larger world.
"OK, God, take me there."
We stand still. All of me needs to take the step, and self-judgment means most of me is hiding. I have pressed myself to change, at times, so it's no wonder the more gentle parts of me hide under rocks and whatever else they can find. God's light, however, is an invitation rather than a whip.
Still, I have to live with the effects. Constant upset. How does comfort work? I don't know, but last night I got to thinking about walking together. Neither God dragging me, nor me forcing myself, but somehow sharing the responsibility. Or sharing the work. I'm not sure how this will work. It's a new idea. It's also an old idea running through most of my life. I did many things when I was younger, based on no more than a belief that things would work out.
The God of the Universe walking with one tired man. All is still grace.
2013 September 16